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NOVELLA

A History of The 21st Century

A Memoir By Major Alexander Pushkin Litvinova, U.S. Army, ret.

A Novella by Fred Beauford

CHAPTER 3

Dear Father, this is getting a little too heavy and sad for me. Let’s take a break for a while from October 3, 2037 and let me tell you a little more about the life Mother and I lived after you died. But you can see how the Big Bang was the turning point for human life on this planet!

Your Sept. 11, although horrible to be sure, was still, compared to what I lived through, small potatoes.

You died in 2010, twenty-eight years before the Big Bang. Mother moved us to Brighton Beach a year later, following a horrific incident. She always told me that the reason why the two of you were never married in a formal sense, was because of her husband, the one she came over with from Russia.

He would not give her a divorce. He was obsessed with her. You Father, must have had some nerve, or you must have wanted her badly, to move in with her with such a crazy man lurking in the shadows.

Just after you died, one night as she returned for a rehearsal, she spotted him out of the corner of her eye. The cold rains had just started pounding California. This night, the rain poured down on Mother as she ran from her car to the door of our apartment house. For some reason, she parked on the street and not inside, which was her big mistake.

After all these years, she had thought that it was over. But there he was, his body drenched, his eyes hollowed, his clothes disheveled, a broken, crazed look on his gaunt face. A latter day Rasputin.

She dropped her keys. “Leave me alone!” she shouted.

He continued toward her, and grabbed her by the arm.

“You dirty bitch!” he said harshly in Russian, in a voice filled with hated.

Mother broke away from him and started to run. She ran out into the wet street in oncoming traffic in hopes that someone would stop and help her.

Her mad husband caught her from behind and spun her around. He yelled another curse in Russian and smashed her squarely in the mouth with his fist. She felled backwards awkwardly.

Before he could do any more damage to her, a female motorist stopped her car and started yelling and blowing her horn loudly.

Mother’s husband ran off. By now, more cars had stopped, and in the distance, a police siren could already be heard approaching.

The courageous woman who had perhaps saved Mother’s life, came over and cradled her head, unmindful of the cold, pouring rain, and the fact that Mother’s blood was pouring out of her mouth onto the woman’s garments.

“Now, now,” she said softly, gently rocking Mother back and forth. “It’ll be alright. He’s gone. It’ll be alright.”

Mother spat three of her front teeth out onto the woman, and started crying heavily, in loud, heart-broken sobs, just like a young child.

I remember when the police brought her home. I can still hear the loud sounds of their radios, as those radios sputtered and crackled with the shorthand of the official business of police work.

Mother had refused to go to the hospital because she knew I was home alone, waiting for her.

“Mother!” I screamed. “Who did this to you?” And I knew the answer before she even answered.

She was a mess. She was shaking and shriveling with cold and fright. Her entire body was soaking wet; her hair was laying flat on her head; her beautiful face and her clothes were covered with blood.

She kept her hands to her mouth to hide the missing teeth from me. The same even, child-like teeth you so admired in your stories, were now gone.

“It was that fuckin’ bastard prick Sergie, Wasn’t it!” Tears were running down my face and I was cursing in Russian for the first time ever in front of Mother.

I pushed myself passed the two policewomen, and threw my arms around her, and bitter, hateful, helpless tears poured from me as my small body shook with anger.

Mother started gently rubbing my head to comfort me.

“Now, now, Alex,” she said, holding me tightly. “Now, now.”

But I hated Sergie! I hated that bastard.

Sergie didn’t know it, and neither did Mother, but although I was only eleven, I knew some mean Cholos! I didn’t go to school with any because Mother sent me to private school, but I knew some. I saw them in the park with their shaved heads and tattoos.

I was now going to become a Cholo, and we were going to get Sergie for beating up my mother, if it was the last thing I did!

 

***

I didn’t become a Cholo, Father. I never got the chance. Mother’s husband was soon arrested. Because of the sheer violence of the attack, and the fact that the courts had warned him to stay away from her many, many times, he was finally deported back to Russia.

But Father, Mother was never the same again after that dreadful night. For her, living in Southern California, the golden land, the land of big dreams, was instead a big nightmare. Not only had the once wonderful sun started to disappear, but also everywhere there was pain. Pain from her memories and lost of you. Pain from a crazy, disappointed husband. Pain from broken, unrealized dreams.

She had a cousin who had moved to Brighton Beach at the same time she and Sergie had moved to Los Angeles, which was right after Communism ended, and the gates were let opened. So the move was made to Brooklyn.

***

Before you start feeling too much pain for Mother, New York turned out to be just the right thing for both of us. Life improved dramatically. I loved New York the moment I looked out the plane window and saw all of those big buildings. I was twelve, and guess what, I had never walked in snow! Growing up, I saw some on the mountains near us in the Valley, which in the last few years seemed to always be covered with snow. But I never walked and played in it.

Mother used to say that what she missed most about Moscow was the soft, cold, white snow.

The two of us arrived in the middle of January, when winter was still winter. New York was covered with a white, heavy recent “Storm of The Century”!” It was beautiful, Father.

For the first time in my young life I ran through snow with all the unbridled joy of youth, laughing and jumping up and down, and happily throwing snowballs at Mother.

And Mother, she was all smiles now, as if she was back in her beloved Moscow.

     We settled into the one bedroom apartment in Brighton Beach that was to be my home for many, many years.


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